Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 61, Issue 10, pp 1541–1554 | Cite as

FerryBox - Application of continuous water quality observations along transects in the North Sea

  • Wilhelm Petersen
  • Friedhelm Schroeder
  • Frank-Detlef Bockelmann
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Multiparametric observation and analysis of the Sea


In 2002, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany, started to use FerryBox-automated monitoring systems on Ships of Opportunity to continuously record standard oceanographic, biological and chemical in situ data in the North Sea. The present study summarises the operational experience gathered since the beginning of this deployment and reflects on the potential and limits of FerryBox systems as a monitoring tool. One part relates to the instrumental performance, constancy of shipping services, and the availability and quality of the recorded in situ data. The other considers integration of the FerryBox observations in scientific applications and routine monitoring campaigns. Examples are presented that highlight the added value of the recorded data for the study of both long- and short-term variability in water mass stability, plankton communities and surface water productivity in the North Sea. Through the assessment of technical and scientific performance, it is evident that FerryBoxes have become a valuable tool in marine research that helps to fill gaps in coastal and open ocean operational observation networks.


FerryBox In situ data Water quality Automated monitoring Ships of Opportunity North Sea Hydrodynamic model 



We are very much indebted to the ship companies (DFDS Tor Line and DFDS Lys Line) and the crews of the vessels Admiral of Scandinavia and Duchess of Scandinavia as well as TorDania for their support. We are grateful to our technical staff for maintaining the FerryBox systems very efficiently and keeping the systems running. We thank the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency for the possibility to operate the FerryBox during their research survey aboard the RV Pelagia and Frank Oestereich for maintaining the FerryBox on that cruise. Thanks to Peter de Boer (Waterdienst of Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands) for providing us the data on the Route Amsterdam–Bergen. The patience of Susanne Reinke in preparing the graphs is gratefully appreciated. The work was partly funded within the Fifth Framework Program of the European Union under contract number EVK2-CT-2002-00144. We thank the unknown reviewers for very helpful comments and advices.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilhelm Petersen
    • 1
  • Friedhelm Schroeder
    • 1
  • Frank-Detlef Bockelmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Helmholtz-Zentrum GeesthachtInstitute of Coastal ResearchGeesthachtGermany

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